Robert Presley Detention Center, Riverside, California
April 13-May 1, 2017
Approximately 21 prisoners launched a hunger strike and released a list of demands including ending long-term solitary confinement, increased movement and access to phones and educational programming, and various other changes to “frivolous and irrelevant policies.”
Along with the list of demands, the prisoners also released a statement to other prisoners, asking them to join in the strike. The prisoners wrote:
“…we are now reaching out to all like-minded prisoners who are willing and interested in banding together in a united stance of solidarity in order to bring about meaningful forms of change. We respectfully ask anybody that is not taking part in the strike to respect our efforts and show other forms of support by not accepting extra county food. We all have a stake and common interest. In preparation we encourage you to inform and involve your friends and family, have them show their support by calling the jail during our hunger strike to voice their concerns, ask that they get our message out to social media and traditional media and by reaching out to prisoners support organizations to help further push and inspire our efforts.”
The strike was supported by outside family members who spoke to media regarding the strike. Nancy Markham, wife of one of the strike leaders Rigoberto Villanueva, told City News Service, “He’s locked down 23.5 hours a day, and he and the other segregated inmates are supposed to take showers, make phone calls, get exercise in 30 minutes? How does anybody do all that stuff in so little time?”
The hunger strike ended on May 1, as scheduled. Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Chris Durham stated that the jail did not make any changes in response to the prisoners’ demands.
“Hunger Strike in Riverside County Jails begins April 13, 2017“, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, March 28, 2017.
“Why some Riverside jail inmates are on a hunger strike“, The Press-Enterprise, April 13, 2017.
“Inmate, Accused Of Two Banning-Area Murders, Organizes Hunger Strike to Protest Jail Conditions“, Patch, April 13, 2017.
“Updates + Help the Riverside Hunger Strikers Win Humane Conditions“, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity, April 27, 2017.
“Riverside County jail hunger strike ends with no changes to policies“, The Press-Enterprise, May 5, 2017.
“Sojourner Truth Radio: Detainees in Riverside County Jail Launch Hunger Strike“, Sojourner Truth with Margaret Prescod, Soundcloud, nd.
“Hunger Strike at Robert Presley Detention Center, California“, Perilous, January 14, 2019.